All posts in Business News

12 May 2014

Construction gets boost as growth recorded for 10th month in a row

Construction continued to grow in April as business confidence in the sector is at its strongest since June 2000, according to the Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index.

The monthly construction purchasing managers’ index (PMI) from Ulster posted an overall score of 63.5 points for April, up from a reading of 60.2 points in March. A level above 50 points indicates expansion.

“The results of the April survey of the Ulster Bank Construction PMI point to a further strengthening of the recovery in Irish construction last month. There was a marked acceleration in overall activity in April as the headline PMI reached its highest level since the end of 2004,” said, Simon Barry, chief economist Republic of Ireland at Ulster Bank.

06 May 2014

Recovery ‘hinges on credit for SMEs and construction sector

Dealing with non-performing loans and providing credit to SMEs and the construction sector is crucial to ensuring Ireland’s economic recovery can be sustained, the European Commission has warned. It also fears that a failure to kick-start credit flows could hamper the supply of new homes.

06 May 2014

EU financial transaction tax ‘won’t come before 2016’

Selected euro zone countries will implement a planned tax on financial transactions in 2016 at the earliest, their finance ministers agreed on Monday according to diplomats, leaving unresolved the much-disputed design of the levy.

Having failed to garner global support, Germany and France have led European efforts to introduce a trading tax, seen by some as a vote winner at a time of public anger over bankers’ bonuses and fines on lenders for rigging interest rates.

02 May 2014

Bank of Ireland’s business banking customers face online uncertainty

BANK of Ireland’s business banking customers face an uncertain period after the bank declined to offer an alternative to an insecure web browser for sensitive banking procedures.

The move leaves the bank’s thousands of business customers wondering whether the security of their transactions might be at risk.

Both the US and UK governments have warned people against using Microsoft’s Internet Explorer web browser since a security flaw in the system was discovered at the weekend.

Microsoft has warned that attacks through the security flaw could lead to theft of data or “the complete compromise” of a user’s PC and that the problem has not yet been fixed.

But Bank of Ireland, which restricts its business banking customers to Internet Explorer, yesterday said that its processes would continue unchanged.

01 May 2014

Honohan warns of deflation risk

The head of the Central Bank has said he is concerned about low inflation across the eurozone and warned that the Government must stick to budget targets following the EU-IMF bailout exit to retain market support.

The European Central Bank (ECB), where Governor Patrick Honohan is a board member, “has been concerned about low inflation not only in 2014 but in the forecasts for 2015 and 2016,” he told reporters yesterday.

Speaking at the release of the Central Bank’s annual report, Mr Honohan, pictured below, said it’s important that European authorities “use all effective tools in an effective way”. That will be seen as a sign that he favours more aggressive action such as quantitative easing to combat the risks.

01 May 2014

We can learn a lot from how Denmark handled its crash

JUSTICE is not only supposed to be blind, she is supposed to be unemotional. So it proved in the ‘trial of the decade’ involving the three former senior executives of Anglo Irish Bank.

Some analysts have suggested that there was more to the surprisingly muted public reaction than just the deadening hand of judicial proceedings. They surmise that people have replaced anger with a more general understanding of the complex processes which led to the collapse of Anglo and the near-collapse of the entire banking system.

There may be something in that but it probably also has a lot to do with the passage of time and even the feeling that the worst is over. The level of residual anger may well depend on the size of an individual’s losses from the crash – whether income, employment or family – and that varies a lot from person to person.

01 May 2014

Bank of Ireland aware of browser security issue – but say use it anyway

Big Irish companies have often been laggards with their web strategy. But Bank of Ireland’s refusal to acknowledge a problem with the security of its nominated online banking web browser is very disappointing.

To recap: Bank of Ireland is continuing to insist that its thousands of Business On Line banking customers use the newly-insecure, unpatched Internet Explorer for all sensitive transactions.

The bank has reiterated its stance days after countless IT security experts, the US and UK governments and even Microsoft itself warned that there is an unfixed security problem with the internet browser in question.

30 Apr 2014

Insurance market booms as economy improves, says FBD

An improvement in the economy has begun to filter through to the insurance market, according to FBD.

But the insurance firm said the sector here remained competitive, although market rates had hardened for car and business insurance.

Home insurance rates, said FBD, remain weak despite the severe weather across the country during the first three months of the year.

FBD, which also uses the Clan Insurance and No Nonsense brands, has previously indicated that the bad weather in January and February is likely to cost it around €7.8m net of reinsurance.

30 Apr 2014

Bank of Ireland among 15 European banks downgraded by S&P

RATING agency Standard & Poors said it has downgraded 15 European banks, including Barclays Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank , after European lawmakers agreed on a framework that prevents governments from having to bail out troubled banks.

The banks, many of which are systemically important, also included ABN AMRO, Bank Of Ireland and ING Bank.

The European Parliament signed off this month on new laws to make it easier – and less costly for taxpayers – to wind down problem banks, after long wrangling over rules for an industry blamed for triggering the worst economic slump in a generation.

S&P said extraordinary government support for these banks would likely diminish as regulators implement the reforms, downgrading them to ‘negative’ from ‘stable.

“We observe similar powers coming into force in Liechtenstein and Norway, and already in place in Switzerland, which are not EU members,” the ratings agency added.

28 Apr 2014

Oracle paid just €11m tax on Irish turnover of €7bn

US technology giant Oracle’s Irish corporation tax bill was €11m last year, at the same time as its turnover here increased to €7.24bn.

Tax is only due in Ireland on the company’s Irish profits, which were €164.4m in 2013, according to new accounts filed by Oracle EMEA Ltd to the Companies Office.

The revenues recorded by Oracle’s Irish unit represent 27pc of the group’s entire global revenues of $37.2bn (€26.8bn) in the year to the end of May 31, 2013. The figures are sure to reignite the debate over the discrepancy between revenues at some of the biggest companies operating here, and their relatively small tax bills.

Last year, a controversial US Senate report said companies such as Apple paid little or no tax on tens of billions of euro in profits stashed in Irish subsidiaries.

Apple is the largest foreign employer in Ireland, with 4,000 workers, but it only pays taxes equal to around 2pc of profits.